Four trusts enter special measures in less than a week

The Isle of Wight NHS FT has become the latest provider to be placed into special measures after standards were found to be ‘inadequate’ by the CQC.

It comes on the same day that a separate trust, Kettering General Hospitals FT, was also placed into special measures, and after Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS FT and United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust were put back into the regime this week.

Numerous areas were found to be in a bad state at Isle of Wight NHS FT, as inspectors identified problems with quality and safety of services as well as low workforce morale, an ‘out of touch’ leadership, and serious concerns about the safety and effectiveness of mental health services.

Isle of Wight was inspected in November and ordered to improve after they were slapped with an inadequate rating. In particular, inspectors warned that a lot of work was required to improve its community mental health services, a target that has not been acted upon by leaders.

The trust provides acute, ambulance, community and mental health services to around 140,000 people living on the channel island.

NHS Improvement has already appointed an Improvement Director to help the trust make rapid improvements and hopefully exit special measures in the near future. The trust will also be required to draw up an Improvement Plan to demonstrate how it is responding to the failings the CQC identified.

Anne Eden, executive regional managing director for the South at NHS Improvement, said: “The CQC’s report makes clear that the trust is not consistently providing the quality of care people expect of the NHS and these concerns must be addressed quickly. Putting the trust in special measures will give it access to additional support to make improvements at pace.

“We will continue working with the trust to bring about rapid improvement across all the services it provides so that all local patients can be confident in the care they receive.”

Professor Sir Mike Richards, the outgoing chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC, added that the Isle of Wight was unique as the only integrated provider of acute, ambulance, community and mental healthcare in the country, but that patients were being exposed to “unacceptable” levels of risk in many areas.

“On the mental health wards, staff did not always report safeguarding incidents to their local teams and wards were not holding local records of ongoing safeguarding concern,” he said. “There was poor communication of safeguarding concerns when patients were transferred between services.

“Since this latest inspection, we have been assured by the trust that there have been changes to their safeguarding procedures to ensure that incidents are properly reported and investigated.”

Sir Mike added he was aware that since the inspection NHS Improvement had been working with the trust to make sure that the CQC’s concerns were appropriately addressed and that progress was being monitored.  

“We will return in due course to undertake further inspections, including unannounced visits, to check that the necessary improvements have been made,” he said.

Kettering Hospitals also told to improve

On the same day, NHS improvement confirmed that Kettering General Hospital NHS FT will also be placed in special measures after a CQC inspection in October found the trust to be inadequate.

Though the trust, which cares for 320,000 people in the Northamptonshire and Leicestershire area, was found to be caring, it required improvement for being effective and responsive and was inadequate for its leadership and patient safety.

At the start of the year, trust leaders told the NHS that the FT’s emergency department was on ‘black alert’ as patients were being advised to seek alternatives to A&E as doctors struggled to cope with rising demand.

Inspectors added that urgent improvements were needed in children and young people’s services, as significant risk was not being identified, assessed of mitigated by professionals. Patients also reported long waiting times for treatments in urology, maxillofacial and ear, nose and throat.

Sir Mike said: “We found a number of serious problems when we inspected the services run by Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation trust and I have made a recommendation to NHS Improvement that the trust should be placed into special measures.   

“We made NHS Improvement aware of our concerns following the inspection and it has begun to work with the trust to make sure these are appropriately addressed and that progress is monitored.”

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